By Janessa Taylor

Senior Living Staff Writer

Oakmont of Fresno, located on the Fig Garden Loop, has welcomed Chef Gregorio Torres as the full-time executive chef and director of culinary services.

Two weeks ago, Torres showcased his talent by hosting a three-course luncheon at Oakmont of Fresno. His vibrant, colorful personality was reflected in his voice as he talked about his career.

First course: a bowl of chicken tortilla soup served with a side of cherry tomatoes, feta cheese, tortilla chips and avocado.

Second course: A center-cut pork chop – or mahi-mahi cooked with grilled pineapple, mango and habanero chili peppers – served with cilantro-lime rice and seasonal vegetables.

Third course: An empanada stuffed with chayote, goat cheese and pecans. It was topped with powdered sugar and drizzles with a cream sauce made with tequila.

Torres incorporates vegetables – tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini –  grown by residents at Oakmont of Fresno.

For as long as he can remember, Torres wanted to be a chef. Born in Mexico, Torres remembers watching his father and grandmother as they made chicken tortilla soup: The sound of patting tortillas; the smell of chicken simmering in a pot.

“As I got older, my passion transformed into a way of like,” Torres said.

After he graduated high school, his father gave him an ultimatum: enroll in college or enlist in the United States Army/

“I want to be a cook,” Torres recalled telling his father.

Torres had two weeks to make a decision, which was easy for him. Within two weeks, he packed him bags to be a chef in the U.S. Army.

When he returned to California, Torres worked at the prestigious Fairmont in San Jose – “where I learned how to budget my money,” he said with a laugh.

His resume includes being executive chef for Silver Creek Valley Country Club in San Jose. Most recently, Torres worked at the Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara – home to the San Francisco 49ers. In fact, Torres was working during Super Bowl 50 – a highlight of his career, he said.

Torres was hired at Oakmont of Fresno in April. Marketing director Dale Masters said Torres “stepped up the ante” at Oakmont of Fresno.

“My passion is fed at Oakmont Of Fresno” Torres said.

Oakmont of Fresno serves three daily meals – breakfast, lunch and dinner – and dessert. Among the array of desserts: lemon bars and cheesecake. A bistro offers coffee and pastries.

Oakmont of Fresno offers several options for residents to transition through retirement. On a regular basis, Torres meets with residents to hear their recommendations.